Summer is almost here and there’s no better time to honor the hardworking, ready-for-summer-break teachers in our lives. As such, our Changemaker® of the Month for June is the fabulous Andrea Woodward – Chelsea’s English teacher at Poway High. She and her husband, Christopher, reside in Rancho Bernardo with their two young children. When she is not teaching, Andrea loves a good hip-hop class, finding time for a run or a yoga class, and watching her kids learn anything new. In the future, she wants to continue to pursue composition research for secondary students and eventually find time to edit her Master’s thesis in Rhetoric and Writing Studies. According to Andrea, any day that involves a lake, the sand, a boat, fireflies, or fireworks is a good day. Sounds like she is ready for summer!
Before she heads off for a well-deserved break, we wanted to find out more about her CLF experience in her own words.
CLF: How did you get involved with CLF?
AW: Chelsea King invited me into her life through her writing during her junior year. In AP English, she wrote with vulnerability and spent countless hours with me revising work and just chatting, contemplating the world. My involvement with CLF feels like a continuation my relationship with Chelsea.
CLF: What do you like best about Chelsea/CLF?
AW: I like her flibbertigibbet persona that made her accessible to anyone who made an effort. I like her dramatic sighs followed by serious questions that she investigated with agency.
CLF: What do you do/done for CLF?
AW: My family participates in Chelsea’s Run each year. For my son’s 5th birthday, he chose a charity to donate to. We went through a list of all the things he cares about: firefighters, kids, the homeless. But, on his own, beyond my suggestions, he asked about “Chelsea’s Run” and quickly justified that because I cared about Chelsea and that he loved getting to go to the run, he would donate to CLF. How’d I get so lucky, right? His little friends brought a few dollars instead of presents, and my son got to decide how many dollars went in a jar for CLF and how many went in his jar for birthday toys. He was thrilled and, with some generous 5-year-old friends, got to pick out his own Lego sets and give to his favorite event.
CLF: What is your vision of CLF 5 years from now?
AW: I’d love to see CLF continue to expand their presence in other states. I’d love to see them collaborate, or even build a partnership, with similar nonprofits that promote protection for women and youth. Two of my senior students coordinated an assembly around a local organization called The Alabaster Jar Project that provides support for trafficked girls and educates high school students about how to keep themselves and their friends safe from sex trafficking and sex crimes. I’d love to see them lean on Chelsea’s peers who are now entering the workforce as generational consultants and advocates for the foundation.
CLF: Anything else you would like to share about your time with Chelsea?
AW: My favorite essay Chelsea wrote was about finding strength in the words and character of her grandfather who fought in wars, fought for inclusion as a first generation American, and fought illness to the last moments of life. During his passing, she focused her grief around remembering his fight and making him proud by fighting her own battles daily with steeper and longer hills in cross country. Chelsea reflectively applied each and every “hill” she faced to improving her character, knowledge, and life. Each setback inspired a new opportunity. Though Chelsea would probably deny this and say her struggles are the same as everyone else’s, her actions and growth speak louder than her modest words. I try to model myself on Chelsea’s character, especially with when faced with my own hills.
We are so grateful for you Andrea! You inspire us with your service to young minds and your personal reflections on our girl Chelsea. Wishing you a summer filled with sand, fireflies and fireworks!